In this article, we will understand what a Raw image file is, which advantages it has and which editor is the best for processing it.
RAW is the common name of a image format that contains all information received from a camera matrix.
What does a RAW file contain?
RAW is not a file extension. Different manufacturers use different permissions for files of this format, for example, DNG, CRW, CR2, DCR, KDC, RAF, ARW and so on.
To clearly demonstrate this format, let’s first see how camera works.
Having taken a photo, the camera receives data directly from the matrix. But this is not a photograph, this is raw data. After that, the camera processes the data received and makes the photo more clear, vivid, sharp and colored. The result of this processing becomes a finished photo, which is stored in JPG format.
What are the benefits of RAW?
All the advantages are somehow connected with the preservation of the initial data from the camera matrix, which gives us:
1. more post processing capabilities
2. larger dynamic range
3. more depth of color.
Another advantage of RAW is working with noise, sharpness and artifacts. In RAW format, this data remains in its original form.
A minus of RAW file is a larger file size and higher requirements on computer and camera performance.
How to process a RAW file ?
The RAW file is created in such a way that we can’t record information in it. You can only open it, apply the necessary changes, and then save the result in JPG or TIFF format.
Changes to the RAW files are stored either in the processing program or in an external XMP file.
To work with RAW files we are using RAW-converters. Below is a list of the most popular converters:
Adobe Lightroom Classic CC
Adobe Camera RAW
PhaseOne Capture One Pro
Lightroom Classic CC and Camera RAW are created by Adobe and use a single engine. The difference is that Camera RAW is a plug-in for Photoshop, and Lightroom is an independent software with cataloging, processing and publishing functions.
These two softwares occupy about 85% of the market of converters, another 10-12% are Capture One Pro.
If you are just starting to work with RAW, we recommend using Adobe Lightroom. This is a simple and convenient converter that even a beginner can easily figure out. In network, it’s very easy to find a lot of useful lessons.
In addition to above mentioned universal softwares, there are specialized converters produced by camera manufacturers. The main advantage of this softwares is that they perfectly display the colors as the manufacturer signified. But usually they are less convenient to work with.
The RAW format contains more information. This is a tool for a professional photographer and an advanced amateur who processes his photos.
If you are taking a vacation with your family, then you can safely use the JPG. More or less enough for a small correction.